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Alexandra DuPont toils over the JURASSIC PARK DVD SET!!!

Published at: Oct. 9, 2000, 1:12 a.m. CST

Hey folks, Harry here... and ya guessed it... Alexandra DuPont... the seductress of the keyboard has wooed yet another fantastic report out of those divine fingertips of hers... Are they worth it? Well... I'll let the lovely eloquent enchantress bestow that knowledge upon you in her own personal manner... Let's extend a warm thank you to DVD Journal for the brilliant review by the siren that beckons us to our local DVD store... Here's me lady...

TOWARDS A REAPPRAISAL of 'JURASSIC PARK' and 'THE LOST WORLD' on DVD

Trying to critically parse the Jurassic Park movies is a bit like trying to delve into the hidden subtext of Disneyland's "Country Bear Jamboree." Both entertainments provide fun, technically masterful rides, but both also tend to fall apart under scrutiny — and that scrutiny really only succeeds in ruining everybody's fun, like sniffing at a Ray Harryhausen "Sinbad" movie for having less-than-stellar acting and a formless plot. What's the damned point?

But still. That scene between Laura Dern and Sir Richard Attenborough in Jurassic where they're eating ice cream and talking about his flea circus? Atrocious! I, for one, never want to navigate that scenarist's miscarriage again as I'm scanning through the film looking for the next raptor attack. I mean, really: Dern's character nonsensically tells Attenborough's character to feel his way out of a problem involving dinosaurs run amok — and then she somehow reaches like five feet across a table and grabs a spoonful of Rocky Road? Stupid and in defiance of the very laws of spatial physics!...

Ahem.

Thankfully, the DVD medium finally provides a way through the thicket.

After a long wait, Jurassic Park and The Lost World will street from Universal Home Video this Tuesday, Oct. 10, and in many respects they're the sort of Spielberg platters we've been waiting for since April 1997, when DVD officially launched. The discs supplement the strengths of the two films (which are, alas, mostly technical) with tons of frequently ginchy, ILM-hagiographic extras, while allowing you to skip, with the touch of a button, all the poopy parts. Zap — Laura Dern's performance now consists solely of screaming reaction shots as she's menaced by the fruits of effects-house genius! Zap — Vanessa Lee Chester's kid-stowaway character no longer ruins a tense chase sequence by doing parallel-bars gymnastics (!) near its climax!

Like many of you, in 1993 I exited a theater showing Jurassic Park and sang that film's praises; also like many of you, in 1997 I exited a theater showing The Lost World and railed against the heavens that Spielberg could direct such a gormless sequel. In previewing these discs, however, I was shocked to discover that the more charitable expectations of home video, combined with the now-ubiquitous existence of Jurassic-caliber special effects, have worn surprisingly well on The Lost World and surprisingly thin on Jurassic Park — to the degree that I'm fairly confident that Lost World will be getting quite a bit more play in my collection.

But I'll get to that later. I'm assuming that most if not all of you have seen these movies, and I'm guessing that what you really want to know about are the DVD extras. So then:

I. The Stories, Quickly.

Jurassic Park: A semi-delusional Walt Disney type (Attenborough) clones dinosaurs from fossil DNA, then builds an amusement-park island to showcase them. Three scientists (Sam Neill, Dern, Jeff Goldblum), a lawyer (Donald Gennaro), and two cute kids (Arianna Richards, Joseph Mazello) come to visit; the park is sabotaged by a disgruntled employee (Seinfeld's Newman, Wayne Knight); and much dino-stomping and chaos ensues.

The Lost World: Hey, there's a second island of dinosaurs — and it's converged upon by a pack of hunters (led by Pete Postlethwaite and corporate weasel Arliss Howard) plus a pack of scientists and tree-huggers (Goldblum, Chester, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, The West Wing's Richard Schiff). The tree-huggers get in the way, and more (and arguably better) dino-stomping and chaos ensues — culminating in a tyrannosaurus' visit to sleepy San Diego.

II. The Extras, plus a Note on Packaging.

First off, I'd like to take a moment to declare the overly shiny new icons adorning Universal's "Collector's Edition" DVD packaging to be completely, utterly unnecessary, like foil-embossing on comic books. The original poster designs were spare and marvelous, and would have been infinitely preferable to what's substituted here — namely, reflective pictures of dinosaurs that look like they've been dipped in Tarn-X. But maybe that's just me.

Now then. These being Spielberg discs, there are no director commentaries, and sadly there are no isolated scores. But what is here is a damned sight more substantial that what's found on any other Spielberg DVD, with the possible exception of the recent Jaws 25th-anniversary release.

The Jurassic disc has the most novel goodies. First up is a 50-minute documentary, "The Making of Jurassic Park," that rightly positions the film as a crucial special-effects landmark — a quantum leap in CGI following the pioneering efforts of Young Sherlock Holmes, The Abyss and Terminator 2, which all stopped short at using computers to depict smooth, reflective objects. (In many ways, the struggle to pioneer these effects runs parallel to, and is more subtly dramatic than, the movie itself.) As with nearly every extra on these two discs, the documentary almost completely bypasses issues of character and story to showcase the efforts of mechanical-creature expert Stan Winston and ILM effects wizards Phil Tippett, Denis Muren and Michael Lantieri. Spielberg's also on hand, gushing over ILM's geek-tech demigods like he knows he needed them.

One discovers while watching "The Making of Jurassic Park" that the least convincing CGI dino effects in the film were completed first, with each sequence completed looking better than the last; ILM was truly making up this technology as it went along, and learning fast. I'm also happy to report that the documentary dwells for at least a few minutes on Tippett's terror that, thanks to CGI, his livelihood as a hands-on "Go-Motion" animator was about to become obsolete.

Also on the Jurassic disc:

  • "Early Pre-Production Meetings" — home-video footage of Spielberg's nerdy, excitable first conferences with Winston and various technicians and yes-men. It reveals a director brimming with suggestions on dinosaur movement (including how they should breathe), and excitedly talking about how he'll use his new technical toys to create suspense. Sadly, there's no discussion of how he'll be allowing Dern to reach five feet across a table for a scoop of ice cream, or how his characters will be made more or less cartoonish than they are on the printed page, but still.
  • "Location Scouting" — home video, shot by Spielberg, of Hawaiian sites that interested him, climaxing in a "cow audition" bit that is most likely only funny on the first viewing. As in the pre-production meetings, Spielberg spews ideas with the rapid verbal cadence of a slightly mellower, much geekier Scorcese — and frequently impresses with his ability to generate solid concepts despite everyone deferring to him at all times.
  • "Phil Tippett Animatics" — This may be the grooviest extra on either disc: a stop-motion "moving pre-visualization" of the entire marvelous raptors-in-the-kitchen sequence, with creepy gliding dolls playing the children and the dinosaurs flicking not-in-the-final-cut lizard tongues (dismissed by paleontologist Horner during pre-production as evolutionarily unsound). This wildly entertaining short comes off like something cooked up by Ray Harryhausen during off-hours at Will Vinton Studios; it's worth checking out the disc for this extra alone.
  • There are navigable storyboard sequences for the major action bits, as well as a (thankfully) "omitted baby trike scene" that features the moppet Lex getting bumped in the derriere by a tiny triceratops. Also storyboarded: the original ending, which lacked a T-Rex and involved at one point our heroes driving around in a cherry-picker/lift gizmo, or something.
  • Finally, there's a two-minute bit on a foley artist cracking waffle-cone shells for an egg-hatching scene (why?); plus "Production Archives" featuring photographs, design sketches and conceptual paintings.


There are actually more extras on the Lost World disc, though they're not necessarily as "sexy" as Jurassic's. First up is "Making the Lost World," another 50-minute documentary (produced for a never-released Laserdisc) that details the Jurassic effects team's efforts to top themselves for the sequel. The reduced thrill of discovery is almost palpable here — the effects guys even seem to be smiling less in their interviews — but it's worth watching the cool professionals craft more complicated challenges for themselves. Of note in the doc are discussions of the original ending, which involved flying pteranodons and a helicopter and will almost certainly turn up somewhere in JP3; snippets from deleted and never-shot scenes; and Spielberg actually assigning a theme to what I'd previously considered his most themeless film. Apparently — and you heard it here first — Spielberg meant The Lost World to be about "hunters vs. gatherers." Is that "sexy"?

Also on the Lost World disc are two deleted scenes, spliced together as a single scratchy chapter: (1) a bar-fight introduction of Pete Postlethwaite's white-hunter character Roland Tembo and his Indian sidekick Ajay (Harvey Jason, who's utterly indistinguishable in the film without this intro, sadly), plus (2) a boardroom scene that rather neatly introduces Arliss Howard's character, the villain of the piece. There are storyboards for major action sequences, including an unfilmed bit involving backpack hang-gliders and pteranodons — which I'll wager JP3 director Joe Johnston is filming as we speak. Finally, there are five (five!) sections of literally hundreds of still photos and drawings, titled as follows: "Models"; "Illustrations and Conceptual Drawings" (which are largely of buildings, sorry to say); "The World of Jurassic Park" (featuring a visit to Stan Winston's studios); "The Magic of ILM," which features several shots of pear-shaped individuals pointing intently at computer screens and storyboards; and "Posters and Toys," which features dozens, seemingly hundreds, of permutations of the Lost World poster logo (and which could be of no possible interest to anyone but the most obsessive-compulsive of graphic-design majors).

Extras-wise, this is a stunning wealth of riches (and I didn't even list them all; there are still more enumerated at the end of this article). Dine heartily upon them, fans of the Bearded One, as we can only expect these sorts of goodies on the Spielberg Lite entertainments; I rather doubt we'll be seeing "Liquidation of the Ghetto" animatics or "Amon Snipes a Little Boy" storyboards on the eventual Schindler's List disc.

III. Eleven Reasons Why The Lost World Has Risen in My Esteem — Possibly above Jurassic Park, but at Least to a Position of Parity — on Home Video:

Author's note: The below is offered as a point of discussion, with full acknowledgment of The Lost World's overabundance of balding and bespectacled and indistinguishable white male characters; with full acknowledgment of its frequently rambling monologues given to poor Julianne Moore, all delivered poorly; with full acknowledgment of its surprising (given the director) problems of logistics and plot structure and follow-through; with full acknowledgment of its one gymnastics-addled chase sequence that is otherwise marvelous; and with full acknowledgment of its tacked-on San Diego ending that seems a separate film entirely.

  1. It has a more interesting, albeit flawed, plot. No. Really. I'm sorry, but author Michael Crichton was ripping off his own Westworld theme-park-gone-bad storyline when he crafted Jurassic Park (and he's since ripped off Jurassic's plot frame for his last novel, Timeline). Jurassic's science-run-amok narrative saw is certainly focused, tried and true, but it loses its punch — particularly in its first hour — with repeated viewings. Spielberg wisely ditched 75 percent of Crichton's horrid Lost World novel for the movie, modeling it instead on a nearly forgotten genre: the safari picture. For this, I salute him.
  2. Jeff Goldblum takes center stage. The heavily mannered Mr. Goldblum is a perfect match for the Jurassic films: His broadly comic vocal stylings masquerading as Method are every bit as overblown as the films themselves, and much funnier. For this, I salute him.
  3. Pete Postlethwaite is Roland Tembo. Particularly given the Lost World disc's inclusion of his introductory bar-fight, Postlethwaite's character emerges as a dry, lacerating individual that I haven't seen in a movie for years — the Hemingway Man. For this, I salute him.
  4. It gets down to business, and fast. Admittedly, Lost World's 10-minute intro — wherein Goldblum is "summoned" and told by a much-creakier Attenborough that he must return to dino country — is perfunctory and quite possibly the least inspired thing Spielberg's ever done; but I also believe Jurassic's intro fails to hold up — and it, alas, is three times as long. Watching Jurassic today, when wondrous effects are commonplace, makes it all too obvious that those dolly shots of Sam Neill and Laura Dern taking off their sunglasses and gaping and what have you while the music swells are brazenly manipulative, designed to make us "feel" wonder at the sight of the dinos — which are, like an aging spouse, not as wondrous as they used to be. Lost World wisely avoids such traps of bathos.
  5. The music's better. A lot better, actually. John Williams (who's only interviewed or even acknowledged, really, in the Lost World documentary) ditches such cloying, maudlin Jurassic cues as "My Friend the Brachiosaur" and replaces them with driving percussion, dissonant cues, and a safari-tinged main theme. And should you prefer the Jurassic main theme, that's here, too.
  6. The effects are much better. Self-evident. Problems of light-reflection, or specularity, are better addressed, and Winston's creature puppets, particularly a baby tyrannosaur, are nonpareil.
  7. Taken singly, Lost World has my favorite pure-cinema sequences of the series. Giving Jurassic's T-Rex and raptor sequences their full and deserved due, there's a special place in my heart for Lost World's trailer-over-the-cliff bit, in which two tyrannosaurs menace a man trying to keep a giant rig from sliding into the drink, even as the rig's occupants dangle and fuss. It's a stunning, Hitchcockian-level piece of editing suspense, recalling nothing so much as the compounding problems of Raiders of the Lost Ark's flying-wing fistfight by way of Temple of Doom's rope-bridge battle — only with dinosaurs!
  8. The Lost World rewards multiple viewings. Well, you start to tell the balding and bespectacled and indistinguishable white male characters apart, anyway. Oh, never mind. Maybe my point is that Jurassic Park, save its suspense-driven middle section, does not reward multiple viewings as highly; its "wondrous" parts lose their wonder like rapidly decaying barium.
  9. It has a better, albeit tacked-on, climax. And one that successfully pulls off in 20 minutes what Devlin and Emmerich's Godzilla failed to deliver for two hours and change. The magic of DVD allows easy viewing of this sequence as a self-contained entity — which even begins and ends, after a bloody, explosive jaunt through San Diego, at the same spectacularly wrecked ship, creating a tidy narrative circle.
  10. Lost World's children and dogs are menaced with greater impunity. Self-evident.
  11. Its "good" characters aren't all that good, necessarily. If The Lost World is, as Spielberg says, about "hunters vs. gatherers," then the gatherers don't come off terribly well, which is surprising given Spielberg's politics. To wit: A major narrative screw turns on the hunters and gatherers being forced to align forces after their respective camps are destroyed — but each camp destruction is the result of a direct action by the gatherers, led by Greenpeace alum Vince Vaughn, who says he was only into Greenpeace for the women anyway. Is this not morally juicier than Richard Attenborough twinkling and saying, "Welcome... to Jurassic Park"? Indeed it is.


Also on both the Jurassic and Lost World discs: "Theatrical Trailers," including one that's really quite brief and underwhelming for Jurassic Park III (Lightning! An island! Who cares!); a "Dinosaur Encyclopedia" that's the same on both discs (and fails to incorporate many "Lost World" animals); "Production Notes"; "Cast and Filmmakers" notes (with no bios of key ILM staff!); DVD-ROM features, which are accompanied by the following note: The DVD-ROM features may include additional information...." ("may"?); plus a chance to sign up for some "DVD Newsletter" spam e-mail from Universal.

— Alexandra DuPont
dupont@dvdjournal.com

Jurassic Park: Collector's Edition

  • Color
  • Anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1)
  • Single-sided, dual-layered disc (SS-DL)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby 2.0 Surround (French)
  • Subtitles (English, Spanish)
  • 50-minute documentary "The Making of Jurassic Park"
  • Pre-production meetings
  • Storyboards, production photos, concept art
  • "Raptors in the Kitchen," a look at Phil Tippet's animatics
  • Trailers for Jurassic Park, The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III
  • Dinosaur encyclopedia
  • Textual supplements
  • Additional DVD-ROM content
  • Keep-case


The Lost World: Collector's Edition

  • Color
  • Anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1)
  • Single-sided, dual-layered disc (SS-DL)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby 2.0 Surround (French)
  • Subtitles (English, Spanish)
  • 50-minute documentary "The Making of The Lost World"
  • Deleted scenes
  • Storyboards, production photos, concept art
  • Trailers for Jurassic Park, The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III
  • Dinosaur encyclopedia
  • Textual supplements
  • Additional DVD-ROM content
  • Keep-case

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:42 a.m. CST

    Lost World SUCKED!

    by yodas_ghost

    Not only could you not tell the balding, bespectacled, white-male characters apart, but the more interesting characters in the novel were condensed, fused, and/or stripped of all personality. Save for Malcolm, there were no endearing characters in this movie (I feel sorry for Vince Vaughn and Julianne Moore for getting involved in this movie). Alos, one last parting shot: did anybody else wonder how the entire crew of the freighter that brought the t-rex to San Diego were eaten with the t-rex trapped in the hold? I thought it was funny that the guys severed arm managed to close the doors on it.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:43 a.m. CST

    First

    by Sorrow Harvester

    I think so.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:44 a.m. CST

    First?

    by Sorrow Harvester

    Nay

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:46 a.m. CST

    I want Jurassic Park

    by Pacey Thomas

    This disc is gonna kick ass!I never did like Lost World so I doubt I will ever pick it up.I'm dissapointed to hear that the Jurassic Park 3 teaser is crap.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:48 a.m. CST

    i may be first. not sure.

    by baff

    now taht weve got that out of the way... Jurassic park is a cool movie. it is so true what the reviewer lady said, that if you scrutinize it too much, it really isnt the good or fun so ill leave it at 'it is a cool movie'. where were YOU when you first saw it??? baff

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 2:49 a.m. CST

    1 vs. 2

    by Roj Blake

    Admittedly, neither of these films are terribly good (or perhaps that's exactly what they are). They entertain. And even when it came out, I said LW was better than JP. I'm pleased to see in print that somebody else finally sees my point.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:32 a.m. CST

    a 'film without a reason for being' indeed

    by Einhander

    Ok, the carnage was better in movie number 2. And, admittedly, JP 1 is kind of sappy. But come on man- JP2 deserves every shot you can take it just because it is so unreedemably hollow. This wasn't an Evil Dead 2/ Empire Strikes Back kind of sequel... hell, this wasn't even a Die Hard 2/ Under Siege 2 kind of sequel. Every step of this movie reeks of lack of imagination and logic. Pop quiz- you've got Jeff Goldblum, Vince Vaughn and Julliane Moore... and oh yeah, the balding white guy as the 'good guy' team. Gee, I wonder who is going to get torn appart for no reason. And take the admittedly well done chase sequence with all the new dinosaurs. Do we see any of these specimens again? No, instead we get more raptor and T-rex attacks, although a plastic version of every new dinosaur can be found at your local Toys. R Us. We get yet another compound swarming with raptors. We get yet another T-Rex chomping on the foolish safari hunters. We get yet another character we hate getting a bad death <The lawer in JP 1, the evil corporate type in JP2> As for Hemingway man, watching Pete in this movie is like watching Robert Duvall in Gone in 60 Seconds- yes, he's good, but how useful is one good actor in a sea of crap? For the last nail in the coffin, let's consider that 'self contained' t-rex in san diego segment. Not only was the previous talkbacker right- how did that T-Rex eat everyone and then get back in it's pen?- but this whole ending is the benchmark of creative bankrupcy. I don't care if it was better than Godzilla- it is still out of sync with the entire goddamn film. It's essentially Speilburg and the writer saying, "We couldn't think of anything here, so we'll have the T-rex eat people and stuff. Add some japanese tourists for comic relief." My point is this- even if the individual segments are better than the syrupy JP 1, I would rather take the spirit of discovery and the lawyer-on-the-toilet scene than the spiritless JP 2. What is it that Mel Brooks said? "May we all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The search for more money."

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 4:19 a.m. CST

    JP3

    by X-Girls

    I wonder if it'll take an hour for cool dino scenes to pop up. i sure hope not, a movie like this is about the CGi, fess up. We know most of the characters as well as we need to, now let's see Ian getting his ****in' head gobbled up! The old man dying, everyone dying, then a plane comes to rescue them, completely helpless. HA! Though Steve seems to think the buildup to a dino scene is genius, it only really is cool upon first viewing, and then you just want to fast forward "screw the little grandkids" that's what we saw from this guy. good review. Can't wait for the third, man, I think I'll dream about that,now. I'd make such a cool dinosaur terror flick..

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:03 a.m. CST

    I don't think either of them hold up to repeated viewings...

    by Loki Trickster

    Except for that one scene in The Lost World. I don't remember much of the film, since it's been years since I've seen it, but the one bit that still sticks in my mind is when the hunters are being torn apart in the cornfield...the single shot of trails in the corn converging on someone sticks with me as the high point in the movie...of course, it's prety much a ripoff of Jaws, but who cares at that point? -Loki

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 6:04 a.m. CST

    In defense of Crichton

    by Lazarus Long

    Westworld was more about the dangers of messing around with technology and "artificial intelligence", where Jurassic Park was more about underestimating nature's ability to adapt and mutate. Similar, but each worth writing books about. The sad thing is, Westworld is a much better film than Jurassic Park, because it isn't weighed down with the cheesy "sense of wonder" crap that ADP mentioned, and it doesn't have a ridiculous "kids figure out the complex computer system" scene. Had Spielberg made an attempt to be a bit more faithful to the novel, you wouldn't have the obvious lawyer death scene, and Malcolm (the only one who understands the flaw in the science as well as Hammond's thinking) would die like he ironically should. Of course, Crichton did sell out by writing the lame sequel (which may have been a bad idea for a film, but at least it had some interesting themes inside), but that's nothing compared to the fact that Spielberg did genre pictures much better 15-20 years before Jurassic, when he could be entertaining and artistic without throwing in a lot of schlock (as derivative as Jaws and Raiders were, at least they weren't trite).

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 6:58 a.m. CST

    In 100% agreement with you Alexandra!!

    by Octagon Fess

    Through pure "Bieng there at the right moment" I was able to get "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost World" a full week and a half before the official release date this week. I have to say that after aquiring both, Lost World has clearly risen above Jurrasic Park for me. Don't get me wrong, my favorite sequence in Jurassic Park is when the Rex escapes his paddock and tries to eat the kids...it still delivers for me. But I can't help but feel that the Lost World is a bit more primal. Sure it's not oscar winning material, Julliane Moore is terrible and that Fu**in' girl doing gymnastics has to be the WORST plot device I have ever seen in a film before. But after watching it repeatedly I get the same feeling as when I used to watch the old stop motion King Kong....you know...expedition of men go into the jungle, get eaten by monsters:) All we needed was a log sequence for a T-Rex to knock it over a chasm and send men screaming to thier death....While not a perfect film, the effects ARE better, the action is more solid(the whole trailer hanging over the cliff sequence still has my eyes glued to the screen) AND PETE POSTLEWAITE RULES!!! They should have him be in EVERY movie if they could..And I'm also agree that the end of Lost World does seem like a separate entity. Here's hoping the 3rd one will be smarter, meaner and have the T-Rex ripping off the Spinosaurus' head. (the Spinosaurus?!? Give me a fu**in' break.)

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:35 a.m. CST

    The Books

    by Anakin Rocks

    Gotta say, BOTH books are fascinating. Whatever one thinks of the film, the NOVEL "The Lost World" is WELL worth your time! -John

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Old hat Cgi

    by Horus

    The impact the original J.Park had , came less from seeing the dinos running around , and more ,from the shock of how suddenly computer graphics had advanced.I wasn't convinced that cgi was up to the job before the film came out, but the T-Rex attacking the cars and eating the guy on the toilet , were amazing.Cgi had taken a massive jump in its evolution.But it was a one off trick, Lost world was doomed , there was no way it could have the same impact , no matter what..because it was already old hat.The same fate, Kind of befell Episode 1.Where as New Hope , blew you away with its never seen before fx, Episode1 made no real advances.There was just an awful lot of of it!And to be honest a lot of Cgi is sub par to what we saw in Jp1.{Its as though , the fx creators sense of what looks fake and what looks real has vanished.I think they were so self conscious of using Cgi in JP that they worked their balls off, to make it convincing..but just look at Jumangi ..made not that long afterwards!} Now comes JP3.In the wake of Walking with Dinos{Which in many scenes captured a sense of awe ,that was entirely missing from Lost world...The Herd Of Diplodocus on that grassy plain , comes to mind}, and even Disneys Dinosaur , its going to take an awful lot to get even a slight buzz ,from the sight of more scaly , teethy things eating peaple.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 11:59 a.m. CST

    JP2 sucked

    by Pallando

    The original was 100x better and if they had stuck to novel for part 2 it would have been good. No gymnastics and a virtually invisible color changing dino.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 12:49 p.m. CST

    for anyone who cares

    by Sentinel Prime X

    Ummmmm, not that it really matters, but those deleted scenes from The Lost World were put back in for the TV version. Say what you will, but I enjoy the mindless entertainment that is the JP movies, both of them. After all, that's what movies are meant to be, escapism entertainment.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Did Alexandra even read the Lost World Novel?

    by thepsxgod

    I personally thought the Lost world novel was 10x better than the film. The films characters were changed to be polically correct and not to offend anyone, the book wasnt like that. In fact i think the first one was changed as well (didnt a baby die or something in the book). The directors need to grow a pair and make the movies as gruesome as the books.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Alexandra DuPont responds to Monterey Jack and thespxgod....

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    (1) Monterey: I must respectfully disagree re: Williams' "Lost World" score -- though I certainly admit I'm in the minority on this one. While there's certainly nothing wrong with the JP score (though I tend to think that it, like a lot of the movie, works too hard to make its points), it's familiar Williams; I very much admire his percussive experiments on LW, and find that the score CD -- if you program it to play tracks 1,4,7,9 and 13, removing all the filler -- makes for a very adrenalizing listen, as if you were trapped in the credits sequence of some exciting Quinn Martin TV series. (2) thespxgod: I have in fact read "The Lost World," or at least quite a bit of it -- though I must admit I completely lost interest and abandoned the novel after a certain point. (And this from someone who thought "Jurassic" was a riveting read, even if he was stealing his own 'Westworld" ideas.) I thought the super-chameleonic dinos and the bit with the trailer in Crichton's fairly critically reviled sequel were extremely clever -- but overall, I just thought the novel had very low stakes, and I gave up. Perhaps I shall finish it one day.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 2:12 p.m. CST

    "Gormless"?

    by Sorcerer

    I knew THE LOST WORLD was lacking in some things, but I never really attributed its critical faliure to a lack of gorm. Yeah, a typo, I know, sorry. It was too easy.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 2:17 p.m. CST

    A.DuP. responds: A dictionary definition for "gormless"....

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    This from the Random House Dictionary, Unabridged Edition: gormless (adj., Brit. informal): witless; senseless; stupid.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Is this bitch CRAZY? LOST WORLD NO PLOT!!!!

    by Art Vandelay

    What the hell is she talking about? I really like JP:Lost World for the first 45 minutes minus the crappy kid character,(note:Short-Round would have whipped her ass with no hesitation!)but after that the movie BLOWS!! Uh, hello when the boat from site B is reaching the main land (San Diego) how are all the crew killed? Did the T-Rex unlock the door reach in, eat everybody including the skipper only to leave his hand?!?!? And then lock himslef back only later to be opened in front of the public and press?? Another plot hole is after they leave the island, where did Vince Vaughn GO TO?? His character just magically disappears, POOF!! Come ON!! THis is total regurjitated crap!! I LOVE the ORIGINAL BOOK and the ORIGINAL MOVIE!! Come on the whole Pirates of the Carribean joke is better than the whole script of Lost World!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Great review -- and more Pete Postlethwaite!

    by superninja

    There is no such thing as too much Pete. I see your point about Lost World, but I'm not sure I agree. But you want to make me watch them both again, so...mission accomplished!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Alexandra DuPont's AICN Vocabulary Builder

    by mrbeaks

    Learn while you write witless, vitriolic, borderline-psychotic rebuttals to eloquently-composed reviews. 10% off if you mention this post at participating AICN Discount Warehouses (void in Tennessee, Utah and Luxembourg.)

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 4:50 p.m. CST

    one thing the sequel had over the original

    by The_Black_Hair

    is that seemed to understand one of the obvious flaws of the original... that there was waaaay too much exposition. The dino attack scenes were great, but the movie was deader than a zombie shot in the head when the dino's weren't attacking. So, instead of making the mistake of trying to throw in a lot of meandering dialogue for the sake of the pretense of having a story, they just threw in as many dino attack scenes as possible. To me that approach is preferable to the originals approach. The problem with most movies today isn't that they don't have stories... most of them do, like it or not... the problem is that is they have BAD stories. I'll take little story over a bad story anyday... that said, I, of course, really prefer good stories. But the the sheer mediocrity of most action movies has completely numbed that expectation from my system.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Hey, what's the name of the film/book where people get caught in

    by superninja

    and have to battle dinos?

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:20 p.m. CST

    wait a second, alexandrea...

    by Ric

    you claim to have given up on TLW novel, yet commended crichton for his inclusion of the chameleon dinosaurs. it's been years since i've read the book, but didn't they appear at the book's *conclusion*? i, for one, felt the book would have made a balls-to-the-wall action flick, and i think crichton quite obviously felt the same way. he probably sat with the rest of us in awed silence of JP, and decided to hold nothing back in the follow-up, knowing full-well that nothing would be beyond ILM's capacity. it contained scenes that had me drooling in anticipation of seeing what spielberg could do with them, and i think steve's discarding of the source material was the first misstep in a series of missteps. the characters in the novel were not, as they were in the film, one dimensional. the julianne moore character, in the book, takes revenge upon the novel's bad guy (who had earlier tried to kill her) by serving him on a silver platter to a rampaging t-rex. no character in the film had such complexity. the film also fell too easily into horror film contrivances. every one in the film acted and carried on as if the first film had never happened, from the "fargo"-guy who takes a piss not nearby (as most would do in a jungle run amock with meat-eating dinosaurs), but far enough away that his screams and cries will go undetected to the moore character hanging on a stick her blood-soaked shirt, spielberg should have set the film at crystal lake. characters who act with seemingly little to no common sense undermine a film in which we're supposed to be rooting for their survival. and, of course, there was the san diego scene. worn out and utterly disgusted by that point, i actually turned to my girlfriend and asked, "is this actually happening?" here's hoping jp3 goes back to crichton's TLW source material. motorcycle/raptor chases through the tall grass, the chameleon dinosaurs, the high hut the raptors eventually destroy... that would have been a great follow-up film.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Keep the Laserdisc.

    by dpc01

    A direct comparison between the laserdisc and DVD of Jurassic Park reveals that the DVD has had the picture cropped slightly on all four sides. The laserdisc has a more accurate composition. And it's sharper-looking, too, although there's much more line breakup. The differences between the Lost World Laser and DVD are negliable. A seperate laserdisc, "Making of Jurassic Park", contains the same documentary and extras, as well TWO of Phil Tippet's test reels, the kitchen sequence and also the T-Rex road attack.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Jurassic Park still remains my favorite movie of all time

    by Flaparoo

    I saw it 7 times in the theater. I have no idea why I love it so much, maybe it's just becuse it was so real and it scared the shit out of(I was only 8). I am so happy it's finally on DVD. How come you didn't mention how good the picture and sound was? The picture should be one of the best quality around. My only complaint is that they changed the cover. There is no cover I would rather have than a completely black one with the JP Logo on it, that logo kicks so much ass.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Don't be doggin' on Crichton!

    by themightyra

    The Lost World novel by Michael Crichton is full of details, action, and is delightfully balanced between action and information. I don't see how you people could say how much the Lost World book sucked! You people are the same people who go and call films that make you cry, "Masterpieces," and films like The Fifth Element, and The Matrix, regular sci-fi films. In the entertainment business, Masterpieces extend far beyond tear-jerking movies or novels! The Matrix was a Masterpiece, it was full of imagination, and a fantastic storyline that took you for a psychological spin into the bizarre, so did The Fifth Element. Same goes for Crichton's, "The Lost World." Crichton is a DAMNED good author, and deserves all the credit he deserves for putting his soul into his books. Damn you who says his books, ANY of them, suck!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 7:41 p.m. CST

    I WANT MY KING KONG(1933) DVD!!!

    by islander

    Yes I am sure the DVD of these movies is a good thing. But I want my KING KONG(1933) DVD. Loaded with bonus goodness like the Criterion laserdisc. Now Thats Adventure!!!

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Both JP

    by Batutta

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Easter Egg Idea (too late though)

    by Drexl Aubuchon

    You know what would've made a GREAT Easter egg for, perhaps, "The Lost World" DVD? Some of you may remember the Playstation game for that movie a few years back. Well, if you could beat the game completely (or enter a code), you got to see a video of Jeff Goldblum "congratulating" you on your accomplishment. Actually, he was saying something like, "turn the thing off, and get out and do something. Pick up the phone, and call a member of the opposite sex." It would've been like the Easter egg on "Mallrats."

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 8:33 p.m. CST

    LW better than JP?

    by Captain Run-0n

    Jurassic Park was waaaay better than Lost World but I can't back that up with facts because JP is just a very special movie to me because I had read the book as a kid and always loved dinosaurs and then the movie came out in the summer of 1993 when I was 14 and that was the best summer ever so I have very fond memories of Jurassic Park and the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup and other stuff- but that's not important my point is that even though Lost World had Pete Postlethwaite- one of the world's best and most underrated actors- it was still a shrugfest because I didn't care about the characters in the film because they were all so stupid or in Mr. Kobayashi [oh sorry I mean Tembo]'s case surrounded by stupids and who cares if they all get eaten but the San Diego stuff was funny and the only good part and it reminded me a bit of 1941 except not as funny and with more Japanese people so now I have to go buy a DVD player instead of new goalie pads so I can watch some stupid little girl beat up velociraptors using gymkata because apparently according to the nice DVD lady that's better than Sam Neill pretending to be electrocuted by a fence but I can't decide which is funnier I guess Sam Neill because he just wanted to marry a round american woman and raise rabbits that she would cook for him and drive a Winnebago state-to-state with no papers but that was a different movie that was also good that I have to buy on DVD instead of new goalie pads but my point is that Jurassic Park is better than Lost world because it just simply is.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 9:31 p.m. CST

    kinda hits the nail on the head don't he?

    by kojiro

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Did someone just call "The Fifth Element" a masterpiece?

    by crimsonrage

    That's the funniest thing I've heard in a while. Yes, the way Tucker put so much depth into Ruby Rod (or whatever the hell his name was) was spellbounding! The way those dudes got locked in the freezer and had little icicles on their hats was flabergastingly original! And the pink muppet in Gary Oldman's desk was brilliance so pure that after watching it I wanted to gouge my eyes out because I knew they were not worthy of witnessing such unadulterated beauty.

  • Oct. 9, 2000, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Jurassic Park

    by The Big T

    Wow, i am quite surprised and saddened to see so many jurrassic park haters out their. I agree with just about all the lost world haters but the original is a classic. It has all the things a popcorn movie should have good characters,great effects, and excellent action sequences. The film is in no ways perfect but its a classic. Its one of those films were at points you have to say "Its just a movie" but almost never do you have to say "That shits unbelievable" anyway thats my 2 cents.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 1:38 a.m. CST

    Sorry, I will never agree that THE LOST WORLD holds up better th

    by Mr_Sinister

    Alexandra's review is excellently written but I don't care how good the DVD is of LOST WORLD, it will never be better than JP. TLW novel was alot of fun, and everything Ric had to say about it is correct. OK, it was stupid that Crichton had to resurrect Ian Malcolm, but at least the characters were better than those used in TLW. Vince Vaughn's character was NOT in the novel, nor was Malcolm's daughter and neither were those ridiculous dino-hunters, among a HEAP of other things. The whole dino-hunters plot was garbage. In the novel, the villains are taken from the first book, in the form of the rival genetics company who pay Nedry to steal the embryos. So much could have been great if TLW novel was followed more closely. Why oh why were the chameleon dinos left out? All we got was more of the same, though the trailer over the cliff and the raptor attack were cool. Ah, what could have been... Anyway, it's no use complaining, because I'm sure that JP3 will be even worse. Oh yeah...THE FIFTH ELEMENT is NOT good!!!

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 2:01 a.m. CST

    "Clever girl..."

    by Darth Taun Taun

    JP was the most fun I've had at the movie theater in a long, long time. When the goat leg hit the top of the car, everyone jumped. When they fired the x-ray/sonar thing into the ground, the theater shook. People got eaten right in front of us. When LW came out, I expected the same, but got invincible good guys, brain-dead slapstick raptors, and a looped John Williams score that sounds like "Rhumba 2" on my sister's Casio keyboard for an hour... In the first movie, the dinosaurs were scary. In the second, they were goofy and cartoonish. The deaths were largely suggested, and rarely seen. The Lost World gave us two of the worst images in cinema: 1) gymnastic queen dino-slaying and 2) the happy go-lucky ending with all the dinosaurs walking hand-in-hand through the valley of love. (If there were Pteranadons in JP, why didn't we see them during the first 240 minutes of the JP films, and why didn't they just fly off the damn island?) Lost World is a piece of crap.

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Save Our Gorm!!

    by flanner

    I don't know, I kind of like Gorm;it rolls off the tongue well,like "Grok". Couldn't we keep it as a new descriptive cinima word? Say have it mean"gutsy form"? Any other suggestions? JP is as to LW as steak is to hamburger(and that's DINO-STEAK I'm talking about!)

  • Oct. 10, 2000, 11:49 p.m. CST

    feed jeff to the dino's

    by b5bob

    i really couldn't stand jeff in both movies. the first movie had him with a half eaten off legg doped up on painkillers espousing how evil technology is. what a but of self -rightous horse manure. " i think technology is evil because i represent it's theorectical side ."rather then have him admit the good cloning can do we get this mouthpiece. hey now, with cloning we can bring species that man has killed off.i am hopeful that if the 3rd film is with sam, it will make more sense. also, i hope the envirormentelist of the 2nd film gets fed to the dio's for puting folks at risk because of his beliefs. maybe jeff can join him in this dino feast.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Having watched JP tonight for the first time in years...

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    I MUST agree with Alexandra that it really didn't age totally well. It's simply become one of those films that feels stale after repeat viewings. I even had to laugh when Miss Du Pont singled out the Dern / Attenborough scene, as I noticed tonight that it was 5 minutes of nails on a cinema chalkboard. I swear I could almost hear Spielberg tell Dern, "Time for your big scene! Cry for me, if you can, would you? Thanks." I mean really... WHAT THE FUCK was Ellie Satler even talking about?? At any rate... after having read this review, I'm actually GLAD I got suckered in to buying the 2-pack set at Best Buy ($28 for both films... I figured Lost World was worth the 8 dollars. I'm sure 2 viewings in the remaining span of my life will justify the cost.) I would have been bummed if I only bought JP, because after watching it tonight, I'm simply left with this "Why was I so crazy about this movie again?" kind of feeling. Yes, the effects are great, but like Du Pont said, the dinos' introduction scene with Neil and Dern shakily tearing off their sunglasses plays out as transparent 7 years down the road. (Where's Crow & Tom Servo when you need them? "Oh my GOD! A BLUESCREEN!!") And my last point for the night: THE 5TH ELEMENT is only a "masterpiece" if you think Wing Commander is a "classic." Masterpiece. Jeez. Master-piece-of-SHIT, perhaps. (Trivia tidbit: The role of Ruby Rod originally belonged to.... Anyone? Anyone? PRINCE. Believe it or not. That's all the man would need... a movie whose quality would make Grafitti Bridge seem not *quite* so bad.) Lightstormer tired and OUT.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 7:17 a.m. CST

    I doubt anyone will read this, but here's my take anyway

    by darthflagg

    Funny that he should mention the one bad scene in JP (the Attenborough/Dern ice cream discussion) when every non-Dinosaur scene in The Lost World was like that. TLW was an inferior sequel in every way. Even the special effects weren't better, there were just more of them. There was no awe, the characters and music were totally forgettable, and plot holes were big enough to swallow a T-Rex. I'll still buy the box set, and Spielberg's done worse (Hook). But something tells me he shouldn't be allowed to direct sequels.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 7:46 a.m. CST

    5th element was wicked!

    by darthflagg

    I'll have no more bashing of the 2nd best sci-fi film of the 90s. The Phantom Menace being number one.

  • Oct. 11, 2000, 7:44 p.m. CST

    My two cents

    by Ellie Sattler

    Jurassic Park the novel was better than the film, but I still loved the movie. TLW novel was a drecky rehash of the original, and the movie was only slightly better. Sorry, but I'm going with the JP DVD instead.

  • Oct. 12, 2000, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Alexandra DuPont is an engaging writer.

    by Wee Willie

    Although I only halfway agree with you about Lost World. Your review made me laugh out loud a few times. (Lightning! An island! Who cares!) Bravo.

  • Oct. 16, 2000, 3:12 a.m. CST

    CLB, I just don't really get it...

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    My point-by-point analysis: >>"both of these dvd's are great and the audio and video absolutely rocked."<< I'll go with you on that one. I really liked them both, actually. >>"alex, do you or any of the other fanboys ever hear of watching a movie just to be entertained? geez, does every genre movie have to be oscar caliber material to you guys?"<< No, of course not. BUT... it's one thing for a movie to not be "Best picture" material, and it's another thing for it to simply insult our collective intelligence. It's the difference between "The Abyss" and, say, "Twister." Both are great with the effects and sound, so the technical considerations are pretty much a moot point. But like I heard Kevin Smith point out once, 30-second commercials have astounding special effects these days; what movies need are good stories. Good stories come (for my money, at least,) from intelligent writing, good characters, a solid conflict within the plot, and the ability for the characters to overcome these conflicts via plausible solutions, at least within the context of the story. (ie, Neo ultimately believing in his own power and saving the world's populace is a reasonable climax to The Matrix, but it wouldn't have worked in, say, Leaving Las Vegas.) >>"were they better than any of the indiana jones movies? no. were they better than jaws? no."<< This is all a matter of opinion. You seem to be saying that there's an empirical grading scale for these films. (J. Evans Prichard, PhD... is that you???) >>"were the characters or scripts in either JP ot TLW:JP that great? no. did that make me enjoy either movie any less? heck no. they are FX movies and should be judged strictly on there entainment value. nothing else. period. i mean it."<< Well, that sucks, because Star Wars is my favorite movie of all time and by now, the effects are outdated; practically obsolete. Are you saying the movie is as well? (And no, you can't use the Special Edition to refute this argument. It's a different release, and an altered version of the original film. Using the SE is cheating.) What I'm getting at is that the term "entertainment value" does not consist simply of convincing special effects. Speaking for myself, if I think the characters are hollow, the dialogue bad, and the story thinner than Neil Young's scalp, I'm simply not entertained. In fact, I tend to get insulted that somebody made a BAD movie, justified it with "groundbreaking" special effects, and I lost 8 bucks on a movie that was nothing more than a CGI showcase. Take "The Haunting," for example, or even "Battlefield Earth." Are you trying to tell me that these are really good movies simply because they had a few good digital effects? Think about "Gattaca." An excellent movie, in my opinion, but very sparse in the effects, especially for a science fiction movie. You're saying this is isn't a good flick? Or that if it had a lot more effects, it would still be as entertaining if they removed the motivations of the characters? Or even "Toy Story." Now that was ALL CGI. Is it fair to say that no matter how strong or weak the script was, the movie would still be great anyway, simply by the virtue of it having spectacular effects? I'm not trying to be too pushy with my point here, really, but I'm just trying to say this: Entertainment value is built on a number of different factors in a film. Effects are only part of it. When it comes down to it, though, a story is either good or bad; weak or strong. If you read a script --a movie's original "blueprint"-- it's pretty easy to determine how sound the structure is. But if you read it you think "it'll be better when the ILM guys get a hold of it," then it's almost like believing a car will run wonderfully with a great paint job regardless of whether or not there's an engine under the hood. Digital magic tricks are a lot like the computers that create them... they astound today, but there will always be something to make them old hat tomorrow. Great stories last forever. Lightstormer OUT.

  • Oct. 30, 2000, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Maybe there was a subtlety you missed?

    by jsarnold513

    In regards to the "how did the T-Rex kill everyone on board then get locked back in the cellar by a severed arm?" criticism of LW that people keep tossing out, I thought that it was obvious (at least at the time I saw it in the theatre) that the T-Rex didn't do the killing, and that the crew was instead slaughtered by stowaway velociraptors, who probably snuck off the ship sometime when we weren't watching and were supposed to be sneaking around SD at the end of the movie. Spielberg, for all the flaws he left in this movie, does have enough skill as a storyteller to challenge his audience when he feels like it. Maybe this was something he slickly pulled over on the audience as a jab about all the flack he took for the plotholes in JP, or there was originally a plan for a teaser scene at the end where we'd see the wild raptors running around Southern CA? Think about it...

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 8:24 a.m. CST

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! this review makes me rage!

    by The_Crimson_King

    how dare Alexandra DuPont dis Jurassic Park! Jurassic Park pwns YOUR FACE! seriously Jurassic park is an excellent movie, "hasn't aged well"? GET THA FUCK OUTTA HERE! most the CGI in Jurassic Park still holds up today

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 8:25 a.m. CST

    and about the Lost World novel...

    by The_Crimson_King

    horrid? are you kidding me? I thought it was pretty good, certainly not "horrid"

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 8:25 a.m. CST

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    by The_Crimson_King